Today, many elderly people decide to place a ‘reverse mortgage‘ on their home.  The reason for this is that it presents an attractive alternative for those who have equity and wish to stay in their home. In order to qualify, a home owner must be 62 years or older and own their home outright or owe a low balance on their mortgage.

By using a ‘reverse mortgage’ the elderly can live on the equity in the home and use their money for things like travel or other expenses.  However, a ‘reverse mortgage’ results in less equity and therefore, less of an inheritance for heirs or beneficiaries. Whether a family member has a ‘reverse mortgage’ or not, he/she should still have a Trust prepared by an Estate Planning Attorney in order to avoid Probate for heirs or beneficiaries.

The process of addressing the estate when a family member has passed away and has a ‘reverse mortgage’ is very similar to that when there is no ‘reverse mortgage’ except for the following:

  • heirs or beneficiaries must sell the house within 6 months from the date of death unless the mortgage company extends the 6 months sale period
  • heirs or beneficiaries cannot live in the house or rent the house
  • heirs or beneficiaries cannot keep the property unless there is a Probate and family members buy it in the Probate proceeding; if there is a Trust then the beneficiaries can keep the property if they refinance and pay the balance owed on the reverse mortgage

The mortgage company will foreclose and sell the property after 6 months from the date of death unless an extension of time to sell is granted by the mortgage company.

If you have questions about Estate Planning and how documents like Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney apply to your situation, call Legal Action Workshop @ 1-800-HELP-444 (1-800-435-7444) or visit for more information. We offer low flat fees for these important documents!


Reader Interactions


  1. SusannMyrick Jacobs says

    Can the reverse mortgage company sell the house before probate finishes? If not , how long after probate to sell tge house?

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      The reverse mortgage company wants the amount owed to be paid. If they sell the property it’s because the house has gone into foreclosure due to lack of payment. If the property sells before the foreclosure date then the amount owed gets paid off. However, if the sale is after the foreclosure date then they may sell the home.
      Hope this answers your questions!
      If you have an attorney, you should speak with her/him. If you would like an attorney, you could give us a call @ 818-630-5503

  2. Tina says

    In your article it says the heir can’t be living in the house. I’ve been living in the house for 28 yrs. When my mom passed 1 3/4 yrs ago with a reverse mortgage I’m still living in the house. I’ve been paying the insurance and taxes plus some repairs and filed probate. Became the executor 10 mos. later.. I want to keep it but do not want to pay the judgment creditor that is the same bank that abused her financially and never returned the money stolen from her account. That’s insult to injury. I will need to apply for a reverse mortgage to pay off my mom’s rev mortgage. But I think I might be cutting it too close. Is there anything I can file to buy a little more time? I became overwhelmed after losing 9 loved one’s in a year and a half. Grief got the better of me and fell behind in the timeline. The rev mort co changed hands I got a goodbye letter but did not receive a Hello letter. The former company I had permission to talk to them otherwise I would not have been able to save her house 2 x’s when it went into default while she was being abused.

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      I’m sorry that you this situation occurred! At this point, it would be best to try to reach out with the new company as you need to determine the equity that is left in the house. You may want to speak with a real estate lawyer who can help you with the rules of a reverse mortgage going forward. If your mom had a Trust then the property would be distributed as per the direction of the Trust. However, without a Trust, the property goes through Probate and is sold. However, I have heard of instances when the company allows the relative of the decedent to stay in the house with a new reverse mortgage…but this is rare and I’m not sure under what circumstances the company would allow this.
      I hope this helps!

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